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Survey: Teens See Little Risk in Ecstasy

NEW YORK, New York (CNN) -- Teen use of the drug ecstasy is leveling off, but the majority of American teenagers say they see no risk in experimenting with the drug, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

After a PDFA press conference, Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the group told CNN, "Even though we have the good news that overall ecstasy use has leveled off after a big surge, we've still got 55 percent of teenagers, 13 million American teenagers, who say they see no great risk in trying it. And that's what we have to reverse."

The 15th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study surveyed 7,084 teenagers ages 12 to 18 across the country. It found that although 77 percent of teens see great risk in using ecstasy regularly (at least once a month), only 45 percent, the minority, said they saw great risk in trying it once or twice. Nine percent said they had used the drug in the past year, little changed from the 10 percent in 2001.

"What the data shows is that prevention can work," Pasierb said, "that in the last year Americans paid a lot of attention to the ecstasy issue through news media, schools, advertising media, community groups, and you had a 71 percent surge [in use between 1999 and 2001] stop dead in its tracks."

In a separate study, Pasierb said, the PDFA found that only 1 percent of parents believed their child had tried ecstasy. He said that parents are not getting the message, and that although the teen data shows good news, it's obvious that parents have to do a lot more.

He urged parents to log onto or call 1-866-XTC-FACTS for more information.

The survey found that overall teen drug use is down, a trend that began in 1997. The decrease was seen not only in most illicit drugs, but also in alcohol and tobacco.

According to the survey, the most widely used illegal drug was marijuana, with about 40 percent of teenagers saying they had tried it. About 20 percent reported they had used it in the past month.

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